7 Ways to Be Intentional in Parenting Young Kids

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We’re back with the final installment in our series on how to be intentional in different seasons of life. We’ve already covered how to be intentional as a college student, a single young adult, and in marriage. In this episode, we’re talking about how to be intentional in parenting young kids (think the little years). We’re definitely not experts, so think of us as friends who are learning alongside you. If you haven’t listened to the episode on intentionality in marriage, you should definitely listen to that one first.

Also, if you are a single parent, we are in no way saying that you cannot be a good parent. We still think you can be a good parent. HOwever, we want to push back against the narrative that you can be a good parent even if your marriage is in shambles. We believe the best way to parent is to focus on your marriage and make sure that it is a healthy relationship.

Now let’s jump in!

1. Give them undivided attention for the first 5 minutes after they wake up (if possible).

This could be difficult if you have a bunch of kids, but if you can do this, try it out!

It could be so easy to try and distract or ignore them. But having them sit on your lap and talk (or not talk) and having a quick few minutes of connection is so beneficial. And it’s an easy habit to get into!

2. Get quality time with each kid each day.

This could even just be reading a short book 1:1. It’s so easy! We so often don’t give our kids quality time, but we have the time to scroll on our phones or watch the latest game. Don’t be passive or distracted- give your kids your full attention.

Side note: Bluey has taught us (without being preachy) how to be better at spending quality time with our kids.

Looking back, I (Nathaniel) am so grateful for the memories I have of throwing around a baseball with my dad.

Also, read to your kids! It is so important to do this, especially when your kids are little. Reading books is such a good moment of quality time and stillness for both parent and kid is so beneficial.

3. Figure out what lights them up and try to do more of it

For Emory, it is definitely dance parties. We have a speaker with disco lights and lately, she has been enjoying a good dance session in the rain.

Verity loves silly games.

Figure out what they love to do. What do they think is fun? Whatever it is, do it with them!

4. Pray with your kids

Pray for them and with them. Model prayer and the importance of continually going before the Lord.

In the car, before meals, when we get hurt, before bed, all throughout the day, etc…

If you are burdened about something, pray about it in front of your kids. Have prayer be a part of your discipline.

5. Look for little ways to explicitly disciple them throughout the day

This will look different during different seasons of life!

Remind them to thank God for their food. Read books that teach biblical principles.

Right now, we are doing something we call “mirror time.” At night, we sit in front of the mirror and do biblically-rooted affirmations. Here’s what we say:

  • “God loves me”
  • “Jesus died for me”
  • “I can do hard things”
  • “I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (the fruit of the Spirit), when I know Jesus.”

This is just one specific example of explicit discipleship. They are learning Scripture and Biblical truth. Another option is family worship. Whatever it is, it goes back to the idea of intentional discipleship. Don’t waste the little years and miss out on discipleship opportunities.

6. Know where you stand on discipline

Have a plan in place before you get to it. Failing to plan = planning to fail 

You can be flexible and change your plan, but if you don’t have a plan in place, you will default into emotional responses and what you’ve seen done before.

Having a plan helps you stay consistent and control your own responses. You are trying to create a stable household where your children know what to expect. They know what the consequences are, but they also know that you are a safe person for them.

7. Lead by example

Don’t just tell your kids how to live a Christ-centered life, show it.

Give them tangible examples of what it means to live out their faith – that’s invaluable as they grow up. We know so many people who came to know the Lord because of the example of their parents. What a testimony of faith!

Model apologizing to them, take responsibility for your mistakes, model humility and processing emotions, and explain why we do certain things as Christians.

Don’t view this as getting kids in line, view it as preparing little adults. 

One Degree Shift

If you are a parent, take one of these seven principles and put it into practice!

Want to Stay a Little Longer?

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Welcome to our cozy virtual couch on the internet. Our biggest prayer is that you'd feel welcomed into an honest space to be real, and ultimately, to grow to be a more faithful follower of Jesus.

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